National

Few takers for free disaster relief housing in Fukushima

Kyodo

Buildings converted from temporary housing units in Fukushima Prefecture have had few takers despite being offered free of charge, due partly to insufficient publicity, a prefectural official said Monday.

Only three of 430 publicly provided temporary housing units have been given to applicants since the program started last May as part of efforts to reuse emergency quarters set up after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The prefectural government is encouraging the secondary use as a way to minimize removal costs and reduce waste. The plan, however, has been stymied because municipalities have come up with few ideas on how to reuse these structures, the official said.

The three units that have been given away, all part of a building in the town of Tadami, were built after downpours in Fukushima and Niigata prefectures in July 2011 and are now being used as offices by a nonprofit organization based in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government owns about 13,000 units of disaster relief housing. More temporary housing for victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will soon become available as the contract terms for some of the shelters expire at the end of this month.

Municipalities are considering converting about 50 units for public housing in the village of Kawauchi, while a complex in the town of Namie is slated for provisional accommodation to residents when the nuclear evacuation advisory will be partially lifted for the town at the end of March.

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